traction. issue #23

SOCIAL MEDIA GIANTS STRIKE DEAL WITH ADVERTISERS OVER BRAND SAFETY

Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter have agreed a deal with major advertisers on how they define harmful content. The agreement -with the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) -will see the social networks use common definitions for things such as hate speech, aggression and bullying.

Brands will also have better tools to control where their ads appear. The agreement, which has taken more than a year to negotiate, requires social media platforms to undergo an independent audit of how they are categorising, reporting and eliminating harmful content. The goal is to conduct these reviews by the end of the year, or have a plan in place to implement them. It follows an advertising boycott of Facebook earlier this year, involving more than 1,000 companies. The boycott included some of the world’s biggest brands -such as Unilever and Coca-Cola.

It was driven in part by the Stop Hate for Profit campaign, a coalition of non-profit organisations urging brands to pull advertising to encourage radical reform of Facebook’s hate speech policies.

However, this latest agreement is between the advertisers themselves and the social networks and does not involve the non-profit groups. The news comes a week after celebrities including Kim Kardashian West, Kerry Washington, and Leonardo DiCaprioboycotted Instagram for a day to protest parent company Facebook’s handling of hate and misinformation (see more in last week’s edition of Traction).

MEANWHILE YOUTUBE TAKES STEPS TO AGE RESTRICT MORE VIDEOS

In a blog post this week, YouTube has announced it will leverage AI-powered technology to automatically flag videos YouTube deems not age-appropriate. As a result, YouTube is expecting to see far more videos pop up with age-gated restrictions. One of the biggest questions facing creators in YouTube’s Partner Program (those who are able to monetize their videos) is whether these moderation measures will have an effect on their moneymaking potential.

YouTube doesn’t believe so because the majority of the videos it anticipates will receive automatic age restrictions also likely violate the company’s advertiser-friendly guidelines. The announcement is Google’s latest move to make YouTube look more responsible to parents and their children after it was marred by controversy. In 2019, the company paid AUD $240 million to settle allegations it had illegally collected data from children who had watched the video streaming service. Since then, it’s rolled out features like a web version of its YouTube Kids app to try and address those concerns.

CONSUMER CONFIDENCE UP BY 1.1 POINTS TO REACH 13 WEEK HIGH

ANZ-Roy Morgan Consumer Confidence increased 1.1pts to 93.5 last weekend and is now 16.6pts lower than a year ago on the comparable weekend last year and 0.2 pts below the 2020 weekly average of 93.7.

Consumer Confidence has now increased for three straight weeks and is up 3.3pts since hitting a low of 90.2 in late August. Although improving this week only 7% (up 1ppt) of Australians expect ‘good times’ for the Australian economy over the next 12 months while 43% (down 4ppts), expect ‘bad times’ (the lowest figure for this indicator for three months since June 20/21).

ANZ head of Australian Economics, David Plank said “Sentiment in Melbourne is still well below neutral, but consumers there are now a touch more confident than those in Sydney. Confidence in the rest of Victoria rose above the neutral 100 level for the first time since early March. The success in getting the COVID-19 new case numbers down is clearly having a big impact on confidence in Victoria. The positive surprise in the August labour market data may have bolstered sentiment more generally, though it is worth pointing out that confidence is comparable to the level reached during the depths of the GFC.”

Source: ANZ/Roy Morgan

LATEST IPSOS POLL SHOWS ECONOMIC WORRIES OF AUSTRALIANS GREW THIS MONTH

According to the latest Ipsos poll, the Economy continued to lead as the top issue facing Australians with concern reaching a new high of 56%. This reflected the growing discontent voiced across the country around the effect of restrictions and border closures on the ability of businesses to survive, and the potential economic pain reductions in Job Keeper and Job Seeker would add to the situation

ABS data shows the unemployment rate at 6.8%, 0.7 points lower than July, dropping for the first time since they rose rapidly from 5.1% at the start of the year.

In addition, Cost of Living (24%), the Environment (20%) and Crime (19%) have all had small increases in levels of concern in September. You can see the data in more detail here.

Source: Ipsos

FOXTEL CELEBRATES SUBSCRIPTION BOOST FOLLOWING RETURN OF LIVE SPORT

After falling to a low of 272,000 subscribers in May this year, there was good news for Foxtel’s Kayo when it was revealed it now has more than 600,000 paying users, bringing total sports subscriptions for Foxtel to nearly 2 million. At a virtual sales event to advertisers this week, Foxtel CEO Patrick Delaney said “We’ve gone from really big lows to great highs. As we sit here today we have more sports subscribers than we’ve had in 25 years.”

The growth in subscriptions follows a difficult year for Foxtel, which spent a large amount of time renegotiating its broadcast deals with sports codes including the AFL and NRL. News Corp, which controls Foxtel, said at its latest earnings result Foxtel would save $180 million over three years from the renegotiated deals. However, the suspension of sport led to high levels of audience churn for Foxtel, which has a large number of subscribers that buy it for match coverage. Mr Delany said unemployment levels and the closure of pubs and clubs also affected subscriber churn and revenue.

MEANWHILE FOXTEL AND SEVEN ANNOUNCE 5 YEAR SUPERCARS DEAL FROM 2021

Foxtel followed the virtual sales event by announcing a new broadcast deal with Supercars who will remain with the pay TV provider until 2025. Every Supercars session will continue to be shown on Foxtel and Kayo Sports as part of the five-year agreement announced on Thursday. Seven also announced the return of the sport after losing the rights to Network 10 in 2015.

Six races will be broadcast Live, including the Bathurst 1000, plus the Bathurst 12 Hour race, with live streaming on 7plus. Highlights from other races will be replayed on the Seven Network and 7plus the same day of the race.

TOP 10 METRO TELEVISION PROGRAMS (TOTAL PEOPLE, 7 DAYS TO SEPTEMBER 24th)

Ranking

Program

Network

Projection

1

SEVEN NEWS – SUN

Network 7

1,103,902

2

THE BLOCK -SUN -ROOM

WINNER

Network 9

1,031,536

3

SEVEN NEWS

Network 7

1,022,341

4

NINE NEWS SUNDAY

Network 9

1,010,068

5

THE BLOCK -SUN

Network 9

985,651

6

SEVEN NEWS AT 6.30

Network 7

961,421

7

NINE NEWS

Network 9

955,435

8

NINE NEWS 6:30

Network 9

940,301

9

THE BLOCK -MON

Network 9

886,569

10

HARD QUIZ S5-EV

ABC

826,541

Source: Oztam

CHART OF THE WEEK: HBO IS STILL KING OF EMMY AWARDS….FOR NOW

Sources: Variety, Chartr, Statista

MICROSOFT ANNOUNCES GROWTH TO GAMING BUSINESS WITH $10.4 BN ACQUISITION

Microsoft is buying the company behind popular video games The Elder Scrolls, Doom and Fallout. The software giant said it is paying AUD$10.4 billion for ZeniMaxMedia, the parent company of video game publisher Bethesda Softworks.

Microsoft said the deal will help beef up its Xbox Game Pass subscription service, which it says has more than 15 million subscribers. Bethesda games, such as Starfield, which is currently in development, will launch on Xbox Game Pass the same day they launch on Xbox or computers, Microsoft said. Microsoft has new consoles debuting on November 10: the Xbox Series X and stripped down Series S version.

It will be competing against Sony’s new PlayStation 5 console.

TRUE CRIME DRAMA “THE NIGHT DRIVER” RETAINS #1 IN AUSTRALIAN PODCAST CHARTS

Source: ITunes

Tweet of the week

Rugby Australia thanks QANTAS for 3 decades of support following news the airline will withdraw from all cash sponsorships of cricket, rugby, soccer and Olympics and Paralympics in Australia. The move is expected to save the airline $20m but is a big blow for the code.

TIKTOK REMOVED MORE THAN 100 MILLION VIDEOS IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2020

TikTok’s surging popularity has resulted in more video takedowns. The company’s latest transparency report states that it removed 104 million clips during the first six months of 2020.

For comparison, the last report —which was published a couple of months ago, but covered July to December 2019 —revealed that roughly 49 million videos were deleted during the latter half of 2019.

It’s a significant jump that can be attributed in part to the app’s ever-growing popularity, which was fuelled earlier this year by the start of the coronavirus pandemic when people were trapped indoors and desperate for ways to entertain themselves.

GOOGLE TREND OF THE WEEK: SCHITTS CREEK PICKS UP 7 EMMY AWARDS

Source: Google

A LIFELINE FOR THE MAGAZINE INDUSTRY? A SPECIAL REPORT BY THE MEDIA STORE

Readly, an all you can read service offering over 5,000 magazines recently launched into the Australian market place. Dubbed the Spotify of magazines, their arrival came off the back of the hemorrhaging blow to the magazine industry with Bauer axing 8 titles and then selling their stable of titles to Mercury Capital. Swedish company Readly started in 2013 and expanded to 800 publishers in 50 countries. It has eight Australian publishers on its platform, including Bauer, Next Media, Bean Media, and Business Chicks.

According to its CEO Maria Hedengren they were already negotiating for its launch into the “pretty stable” Australian market long before the magazine industry experienced revenue loss due to COVID. In their hey-day, Australian magazines enjoyed the highest per capita number of titles, with thriving readership and a high average spend.

The latest Roy Morgan figures to March 2020 show the readership of magazine titles contracted by approximately 6% to 12.777M readers year on year and viewing content by web or app increased by 20% percent during the same time. Data also indicates that digital uptake as a result of the COVID cloud and lockdown bubbles is only continuing to accelerate. The Apple News app, sourcing global & locally published content, is now accessed by 26% of Australians. Their subscription service was launched last October, provides access to 300 magazines and is considered Readly’s main competitor.

 

Readly analytics showed how behaviour amongst consumers had shifted as COVID escalated across different parts of the globe, and the categories readers were most attracted to. Whilst in Italy readers increased their readership in science, technology, gossip and cooking, in Sweden for example, readers were more interested in health, mindfulness, finance and DIY. Interestingly for the Brits consumption in crosswords and puzzles had a significant increase. (Shout out to the Brits for a please explain!).Similar to Apple News+, Readly is accessed via a subscription service costing $14.99 per month. For those who love their magazines, like any new subscription, you can dip your toe in the water to access a month for free (perfect leading into the warmer months!).

But have we reached subscription fatigue? We wondered the same thing late last year when Disney+ was about to launch off the heels of Netflix and Stan’s success. But interesting fact Disney+ achieved in 5 months what took Netflix 7 years!

With device and in particular tablet penetration in Australia sitting at 64%, combined with increasing uptake of readership in digital website/apps, replicating the magazine experience is what will ensure further uptake. It’s the new generation devices such as the new Surface Duo -that we covered in issue 17 of Traction –which will take the ubiquitous DPS (Double Page Spread) magazine experience to a new level. However, in a time of rising disinformation and a call for fairer distribution of news by publishers -evidenced by Google and Facebook locking horns with the ACCC over the media code of conduct –is where the true value of magazines have a chance to thrive, beyond mere survival. Not only can magazine content provide verified news from established news sources, but for consumers, during these challenging social situations and increased isolation, magazines do what they have always done best. Put simply, that is to motivate and inspire us!

Monia Montefusco is Head of Strategy at The Media Store

THE LONG READ: A DECADE ON, HOW INSTAGRAM HAS CHANGED OUR SENSE OF SELF

“A decade later, Instagram has rewired society. It has changed how we look, what we eat, our relationships, how we vote, where we go on holiday and what we spend our money on.”

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2020/sep/20/instagram-at-10-how-sharing-photos-has-entertained-us-upset-us-and-changed-our-sense-of-self

CINEMA AUDIENCES GROW FOR THE SEVENTH WEEK IN A ROW –UP 26% WOW

Cinema admissions reached a record peak since first lockdown restrictions were lifted, with more than 376,000 Australians visiting the cinema in the last full week of data, a 26% rise on the previous week.

The past week’s results (the week ending September 10) exceeded previous post-lockdown records, despite cinema closures currently in place across Melbourne.

The previous peak aligned with the last school holiday period and spanned Melbourne’s post-first lockdown cinema opening.

“The results are thrilling, but not surprising. This is a culmination of 7 weeks of continuous audience growth within our cinema environments,” says guy Burbidge, managing director of Val Morgan. Val Morgan anticipates steady audience growth into the December quarter with a strong content slate ahead including the Bond film No Time to Die.

 

Quote of the week

“The natural world is the greatest source of excitement; the greatest source of visual beauty, the greatest source of intellectual interest. It is the greatest source of so much in life that makes life worth living.”

David Attenborough recounts his life and offers a vision for the future in a forthcoming series on Netflix. You can watch the trailer here.